It looks like it’s going to be a great summer here in the UK with meteorologists reporting that May was one of the driest months in recent times and there’s more to come. If you’re wondering which wines to choose to match the warm weather, here’s our quick guide to picking the best bottle. One of the big changes during the summer is that we tend to eat lighter kinds of food. A heavy stew or big roast can seem a little overbearing when it’s in the mid-twenties outside. Many people swap to healthy salads and food such as fish or light grills. There’s always the chance for the traditional barbecue if the weather holds out till the weekend so you’ll want a good choice of wine for that too. Heavy reds with lots of tannin or a high abv can be too much during these hotter days but a lot really depends on what you personally like. For most of us, summer is a time when wine enthusiasts turn to lighter reds and roses as well as nicely chilled whites.
Can Wine Be Seasonal?
The answer to this is almost certainly yes. Part of this is how we pair individual grapes with summer foods which tend to be lighter. That means heavier wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel can seem a little too overpowering. Moving towards fruity reds and light whites with more acidity and, of course, rose wines is generally the order of the day. Good choices might be Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc as well as a glass or two of Pinot Grigio. The rule should be: Think light and refreshing and you won’t head too far off the mark.
Another important factor is the temperature at which wine is served. With reds, the warmer summer days can be an issue and keeping your stock in fairly cool but not chilled conditions indoors can make a big difference. For whites and rosés, there’s nothing better than a chilled bottle of Riesling or even a little bubbly in the fridge for those garden soirees.
Five Wines To Stock Up On This Summer
- Beaujolais: Low in tannin levels, it is a fruity wine popular in bistros around France and is certainly light enough for hot summer days. Produced in November, the nouveau is meant to be drunk within the year, so the beginning of June and July are perfect moments to uncork a bottle or two at the barbecue.
- Pinot Noir: This is another red that is popular during the summer months because of it’s light body and fruity flavour. It’s also a wine that you can serve chilled after putting in the fridge for about half an hour.
- Chardonnay: Originating from the Burgundy region in France, Chardonnay is a staple on many tables during the summer. Light and refreshing, it’s a good all-rounder to include at the dinner table or to enjoy as you relax in the garden after a hard day’s work.
- Sauvignon Blanc: One of the most widely grown grapes, you can pick up bottles produced all around the world. It’s dry, crisp and fruity taste makes it the perfect choice for celebrations and family get togethers.
- Riesling: Originating from the Rhine, this is a highly versatile wine that can be paired with any summer food. It’s one of the few white wines that also works with spicier meals and is certainly one bottle you’ll need in your fridge over the summer months.
Of course, there are plenty of other wines that are equally great during the summer months including Chablis and the wide range of rosés that are on the market nowadays. As with any wine choice, during the warmer seasons, always look for quality and veer to the light and refreshing rather than the full-bodied grape varieties.